Guidelines to buying stretch film?
I don’t have time just ship it out!
Stretch packaging your finished product for safe shipment is the last process on the production line and thus is often overlooked as an area of cost (and savings).
When we think of stretch wrapping, it is usually in the sense of “wrap it up and get it out”. In our haste to get the product out the door, we typically don’t give it much more thought than that. This can be an extremely costly mistake. Just throwing stretch film over a pallet does not make it unitized and safe for transport. Or you might be applying much more than required with. In fact in the end you could be throwing out thousands of dollars of stretch film that could easily be saved.
Yes, your stretch wrap machine is running (but it is probably NOT working)
Unlike some other equipment on a packaging line, a stretch wrap machine will continue to run and apply stretch film even though the machine has stopped prestretching the stretch film.
In fact, nearly 60% of all stretch wrap machines evaluated are typically operated far below acceptable efficiency levels. This not only increases the amount of stretch film applied (and thus your packaging cost) but it also dramatically reduces the strength and holding power of the stretch film, resulting in shipping damage due to packaging failure.
How much more stretch film?
“One particular customer saved over $150,000 per year in Stretch Film.”
It is very important to understand the basic fundamentals of prestretching the film to be able to realize that huge potential for cost (and savings) increases in this part of your business. It is worth the 5 minutes of your time to review our section of stretch wrap basics. It will ensure that you know more about the process than the salesman selling it to you.
Was this load wrapped with a properly functioning stretch wrap machine?
It looks good, but this pallet load will fail on the customer’s floor because the stretch film was not prestretched to the required level to obtain the required strength. The point is that although the load looks good it will fail during transit and you simply cannot determine this by looking at the load.
- Are the required load retention forces created by proper prestretching of the stretch film present?
- Have you applied too much film and are actually damaging the product with the stretch film?
- Are you spending too much in stretch film because your vendor simply does not have the necessary grasp of equipment to determine what the issues are?
Find out how efficiently your stretch wrap machine is operating!
We have provided an online stretch wrap machine efficiency test that will let you know immediately if you are wasting money.
It WILL save you money!
Marriage, the overlooked key to stretch wrapping success!
Stretch film is a raw material whose capabilities are not optimized until properly stretched (Important, see stretch film basics for more info). You can buy the most expensive high performance stretch film on the market, but if your stretch wrap machinery is not prestretching the stretch film at the required level, then your costs skyrocket and your pallets are subject to shipping failure. One simply does not work without the other. It is absolutely critical that you (and your supplier) understand how your stretch wrap machinery and the stretch film work together to create the prestretch film that is required to unitize your product.
If your supplier is not technical enough to review, troubleshoot, and correct issues with your equipment to maximize this marriages efficiencies then find another supplier. He will cost you money in the long run. It is this marriage that maximizes your film strength and holding force while minimizing your stretch film costs!
Stretch film and how it relates to the stretch film equipment?
Stretch film products react differently based on how they were manufactured or the properties of the materials used to produce them. See the stretch film basics section for an overview of these properties.
- You may find a supplier that will sell you a great 2-sided cling stretch film at 3 cents a pound less than your current price. However, your specific stretch wrap machine may not be properly configured to run that product efficiently.
- Or you may find a great deal on a blown stretch film with extra cling, but putting such a stretch film on a high speed wrapping system will surely have the stretch film screaming off the roll and bring the noise level above allowable DB levels in your plant.
- Some carriage designs require that the tacky side of the film be against the prestretch roller to help grip the stretch film during the stretching process, however this may mean that the tack ends up on the outside of the pallet instead of the inside where you require it.
You must understand what your specific requirements of the stretch film are so that you do NOT get “a deal” that costs you more than the 3 cents you saved. If your particular equipment cannot consistently prestretch the stretch film to your minimum requirement to contain your pallet loads then paying 3 cents less for the film has actually cost you money.
Is all stretch film created equal?
NO! Deciding what you require of the stretch film determines the type, grade, and performance characteristics required of the stretch film. If you are a believer of the old adage “Stretch film is just stretch film” then you are probably not getting all the benefits, performance, and economies out of your stretch film. See the stretch film basics section for more info on the different performance characteristics of the various stretch films.
What are the most important criteria in choosing a stretch film?
The ONLY reason to buy stretch film is to ensure your product is safely unitized to get from your dock to your customer’s floor in a manner that is satisfactory to your customer. Some important criteria to consider in choosing a stretch film are:
- Tear resistance
- Puncture resistance
- Thickness Consistency
- Load profile & height
- Load weight
- Storage location (UV?)
- Production speed
- Stacking pattern
- Product value
- Transport distance & method
- Equipment type
- Labeling & bar coding
These criteria all have to be weighted before deciding on the correct stretch film for your specific application.
Do not let salesmen cloud the key requirements of your application with a smoke and mirrors presentation that speaks only to prestretch capability or cost. Do your homework first to make sure that any stretch film that is offered meets all the other criteria you have. This way you will ensure that your package meets your customer’s requirements.
>> Guidelines to buying stretch film.
>> Guidelines to choosing a stretch film supplier.